The Parallax BASIC Stamp once the center of DIY electronic control is now 25 years old without an update. So this successful Kickstarter campaign will launch a new stamp version based on a USB ARM CPU, with 700 times the performance and 100 times the memory. Programmable in BASIC or C as well as other languages.

This board is now for sale

Text from the Kickstarter video below, or scroll to the bottom to watch the video.

The story starts when Windows 95 was new.

At the time it was hard to program micro-controllers. You needed expensive custom tools, UV PROM programmers and erasers just to make a simple LED Flash.

Well a company called Parallax took off the shelf components wrote some clever software and made it easy to do just that programming in BASIC.

Here is a simple program with a delay generated by counting to 1000, and then turning an LED on and off.

' {$STAMP BS2}
' {$PBASIC 2.5}

LED_PIN CON 8

x VAR Word

GOTO MAIN

DELAY:
  FOR x=1 TO 1000
  NEXT
  RETURN

MAIN:
  GOSUB delay
  HIGH LED_PIN
  GOSUB delay
  LOW  LED_PIN
  GOTO MAIN

That same device is still available which is good, but it has never been updated with a set of modern components.

Here is that same program in a modern BASIC that is compiled to a new ARM processor.

#define LED_PIN     1

sub delay()
    dim i 
    for i=1 to 1000
    next
end sub

main:
while(1)
    io(LED_PIN)=1
    delay
    io(LED_PIN)=0
    delay
loop

That same program rather than flashing around once each second is running 700 times faster.

So what are we using to build this.

We start with the same pin out as that earlier Stamp.

That earlier part is programmed with an RS-232 connection. When was the last time you saw that on a personal computer?
Luckily I still had a USB to RS232 cable lying around.

So instead of RS-232 we use a processor with built in USB support.

That processor has a lot more Flash and RAM memory as well as more pins. So lets bring those pins out as well, but keep the stamp inner 24 pin arrangement.

Another feature we keep is 5V tolerant IOs. Even when connected directly to a 5V supply directly, the pins draw less than a micro amp.

Here is a prototype of that device, that we want to take to production with this kick starter campaign. This device can be programmed in BASIC, GCC both C and C++. as well as mBed tools.

To add even more tools we will add a JTAG or Serial wire connection. It can also be configured as both debugger or device under test. With that you can program this device with Keil, IAR, and Eclipse based tools.

It is now on sale

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